Play a Single Tune?
A challenge: the concept of what to write in this space. How do I get an idea or the impetus to put something down here?
Very often the blog is a reflection of things I am thinking about or issues that have come up. Recognizing that my issues may not be your issues I try to keep also to a steady stream of looking at work, mine yes, but also others, through interviews of artists.
For instance: Where I was when I wrote this a few days ago: Martha's Vineyard. When I got there two weeks ago, I had brought three portfolios with me of pictures I made in July in Iceland while on an artist-in-residence called the Baer Art Center. I did this as I have people in MV who I like to show work to and who seem to like to see new photographs of mine. I've written before that I believe it is important to show one's work to people whose opinion you value.
Three portfolios of very different work: a portfolio called Bus Trip of blurry pictures taken while riding a bus north from Rekjavik the second day I was in Iceland,
a second called Rock,
pictures made while on a boat ride up the coast towards the end of our time there
and Hofsos, Chapter 1:
a portfolio of pictures made in the town closest to where we were at Baer. All three are very different, have different things to say, run through the sequence in a different manner and speak to different sensibilities.
I have never wanted to play a single tune in my work. I am too interested in too many things as an artist to keep it confined to just one manner of expression. This has caused some problems, of course. It is difficult to track a moving target, to identify what a person does if they do many things, to define an artist if he/she is always moving on to something else. But there are advantages. Ever feel bored by your own work ? Not me. BTW: this isn't the same as disliking your own work, this is a topic for another time. Ever feel like you're in a rut, repeating the same old same old? Nope. Moving forward, that's my game. There are a few "buts" however. I still am, for the most part, a "straight photographer", finding enough interest in the world I see in my travels to make pictures without a need for severe alterations or have them be divorced from reality. I very seldom shoot in a studio or use artificial light.
I also hope that some consistency runs through my work as a stream, even though my approach may change from body of work to body of work. What exactly is that? Well, a concern for high photographic quality is foremost. To use the best equipment I can in the best possible way to get the best photographs I am capable of. To approach each area of interest with intelligence, insight and thoroughness. To have a good time, of course, even to allow a sense of humor in my work. But also to do the research required to know what others do, to be aware of current trends and to be confident enough to accept them or reject them. In short, to be true to myself as an artist. And for my work to reflect my genuine interest in how things look photographed with a little bit of "oh my God, I have to have that" thrown in there meaning to capture something and bring it away with me as it is simply too good to leave behind. Many of us are like that, I suppose. Collectors. I have a friend I kayak with. Very often we find ourselves on some empty island somewhere, often off the coast of Maine in the summer. She is crazy for rocks and will load up her boat with them, fill a bag with them and haul them back home, to do what with I can't imagine. I am not so different it turns out as I will photograph on the same island, preferring to bring back my treasures to a computer, to choose to make a print or two to remember the time we had, the light as it changed throughout the day, the incredible beauty.